“He just came across as a loving, caring, kind soul.” “Everybody wanted to be with Michael, and then he likes you.” “The days were filled with magical childhood adventure experiences.”
Those are some of the testimonials heard early in this new trailer for HBO’s upcoming Leaving Neverland, the explosive documentary about Michael Jackson that roiled this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
The memories soon turn much darker. “He told me if they ever found out what we were doing, he and I would go to jail for the rest of our lives.”
Directed and produced by Dan Reed, Leaving Neverland is a two-part documentary that, in the HBO description, “explores the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, both of whom were befriended by Michael Jackson. Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck, now 37, and Robson, now 41, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, the film crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after both had a young son of their own.”
Last week, HBO said that it had declined offers to meet with legal reps for the Jackson estate who had condemned the documentary as “relying on the uncorroborated stories of two admitted perjurers.”
HBO’s programming chief Casey Bloys responded at TCA: “The one thing I would say about this documentary is I would ask everybody to watch it and make their judgments after seeing it.”
Now HBO subscribers will get a chance to do just that. The two-part, four-hour Leaving Neverland debuts on HBO March 3 and 4.
Check out the trailer above.